Neighbors, The Good, the Bad and the....(you decide)
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    SulleyBear's Avatar
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    Neighbors, The Good, the Bad and the....(you decide)

    Met my newest neighbor yesterday, well the wife anyways. They are immigrants to our Great Country from India. Some of you will recall I had a small issue with their HUGE party when they first moved in and blocked all the roads, etc. I didn't get a chance to meet them then and I briefly spoke to the husband for about 10 seconds or less.

    Yesterday, I got a text message from the new neighbors wife who asked me to plow their driveway and she would pay me when she got home. I replied "Sure, I will take care of it." So i plowed and cleaned out their driveway, which is very tight and has little room for snow piles. So I back drug the snow out to the street and piled it out of the way. Actually, I plowed their driveway a couple of other times by their request by text message and they sent their young son over who handed me the money and that was that.

    Late yesterday afternoon, I get a message "RUhom?"............which I figures meant "Are you Home?" ( I HATE the abbreviated messages which are cryptic, but that's just me.)" I replied "yes" and she texted "Need2$u"........Ok........then she sent a message which said "ru48981" so I assumed she was asking my address which I didn't get as I have been here the entire time and she sent her son over 2 times. So I responded with the correct house number and I said "I will be right outside."

    She came walking up and we spoke for several minutes. She paid me the money which is interesting as this is the 3rd time and they have paid the same way each time, it's a $10, (3) $5's and (5) $1's to total $30.......that's fine as cash spends.....

    I asked her several questions and she answered them. I asked if her parents live with them and she indicated it's her husbands parents but her mother in law went back to India as she doesn't like it here. She and her husband have two son's, ages 12 and 14 and it's the 14 year old who had paid me before. I asked about their business as she said she has a store and she told me she and her husband own a store and I asked where and she told me the general idea. She told me she works from opening at 9am until later in the afternoon and her husband comes in the afternoon and stays until closing. They are open 7 days a week, from 9am to midnight Sunday through Thursday and till 2am on Friday and Saturday nights.

    She was very pleasant and I made sure to give her my contact information, my wife's name and her contact information and I told her about each of the other neighbors as she hasn't met any of them yet. She told me her father in law (who doesn't speak any English) is home with her son's and she worries about them being home alone. I told her to feel free to call me anytime if she or anyone in their family needs anything. Also told her that we would do whatever we could to assist them in this new neighborhood (and country....) as she admitted they are dealing with many new things which they didn't use to encounter, like this weather. Also, they had never had a house with a lawn or anything so this was all new to them. I told them I would do what I could to help them.

    I had a general idea of the stores location and when I came into the house and looked it up on Google maps, I was right. It is in the BAD part of a neighboring town, about 10 miles away. In fact, as a 6'4" plus legal weapon carrying male, when I had a meeting at the small business next door to their store location a couple of summers ago, a close friend who is a Captain in the Sheriff's department actually had a patrol car hang around the block where i was at the meeting, which only took about 15 minutes, as the area is so rough. When I told him where I was going to the meeting, (to help settle a death claim for an elderly woman who lost her husband, who has lived there for 70 years and the neighborhood changed around her...) he was adamant that I not go there alone.

    It's between three public housing complexes which are always the scene of serious crimes. I really hope this new family, my new neighbors, fully understand the danger of where they are working. Their culture is that of Sikh's, who are very passive and don't believe in violence and don't own guns, etc. They are practicing Sikh, so they wear the head wrappings, including the men and their teen age son's. She told me she opens the store in the morning and her husband comes down later and he stays until closing.

    I have to be honest, I am genuinely worried about these people and I certainly hope no harm comes to them. Their store is smack in the middle of 90% of the police calls for the town where their store is located. It is on a "Business Loop" so there is a lot of road traffic, but that doesn't help this nice woman, who is very small, by the way. I bet she is 5' tall and weighs maybe 90 pounds......Her husband is typical middle aged male sized.

    Not only do we avoid that area at all costs, we don't even drive down that section of the business loop as in the summer, windows get shot out of cars if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The other businesses around their store are all boarded up. The closest business which is operating is the small funeral home three blocks south. ironically, there is another very small funeral home also 3 blocks North, on the same business loop. So there is not a lot of "business traffic" coming and going from those closest businesses.

    I know I will help these new neighbors anyway I can as they work very hard and frankly, they are working in the closest thing to a battle zone in the U.S. They seem very nice and they bought a beautiful home. I looked at their online pictures of their store and they have a LOT of inventory. Its a liquor store and also sells quite a selection of grocery items. She told me she had to go into work this week despite the weather because "people were calling her cell phone because they needed food". She did mention in passing that food stamps are a big share of their business as she was telling me about the state's computer system causing problems and she couldn't process the electronic transactions and people were getting upset.......

    All I can say is I have the utmost respect for people who work hard and are self made. I have done it myself and I think it's a great thing about our wonderful country. I hope that no harm ever comes to her or her husband or anyone in their family. But they are taking HUGE risks operating where they are located. She told me "You should come down and see our store". I said I would so and I will, but it's going to be during mid day hours and likely soon, as when the warm weather comes, the entire area changes with people out milling about and hanging around......

    (As a side note, the one funeral home near them has been busted twice for holding illegal gambling games in the back room...._)

    I am glad I got to meet this new family and learn more about them. Also, I want her to know she can ask for help as she was stuck in the road the other night and she told me she didn't have anyone to call but her husband and he ran home to drive her the 1/2 mile from where she was stuck home and then he had to drive back to the store and reopen. My wife and I could have very easily driven down and picked her up and ran her homes. That was the night of the -22 temps and -55 wind chill and the weather was white outs continuously.

    I noticed he comes home at about 2:30am on Friday and Saturday nights, which makes sense with their hours. I sincerely and genuinely wish them well and I hope nothing happens to either of them. On a scale of 1 to 10 for risk and danger, they work in a 10 so I can see why they want to live and have their family in a 1..........

    I really wonder if they understand the extent of the danger in that area, they must have some idea. Just think of the one location in your county or state where you wouldn't want to go and certainly not have to work or spend any time there. That's the location of their store.......

    In fact, the earlier google maps photo's show the business all boarded up, like the neighboring businesses and then the latest photos are with their store operating. It's not a small store as its probably 8,000 sq feet. It's probably the local grocery store for much of that part of the community as it's several miles to the closest grocery store otherwise.............

    I really wish them the very best and hope they stay safe........they seem like they are going to be good neighbors.

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    Wow, what a scenario. It is great to see people that come to our country and try to better themselves with hard work. While what you are describing as a warzone, and believe me.....we have sections like that here in NJ too, I have to wonder if they went into that location being naive or, is it no worse then where they came from?
    While there is a ton of debate on every news channel about immigration and 'the wall" and such (and no, I'm not looking for any sort of political debate on anything related to this topic), we have quite a few people where I work that might be described as 'from over there' And I have to say, they work their tails off. They show up on time, do their best, they are polite and they bust their butts at anything they do.

    Thus, I wish your neighbors the safety we all come to expect in this great country and hope they achieve their 'American Dream"

    We really do live in the best darned country in the whole wide world. :

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    Tough situation. Maybe once you get to know them a little better you would be able to discuss your concerns with them?

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    I live about 25 miles south of Macon Ga. Macon is pretty much thug central in these parts. Indian store owners are being robbed and killed all the time. It doesn't seem to deter them from running stores in those kinds of areas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toughsox View Post
    Wow, what a scenario. It is great to see people that come to our country and try to better themselves with hard work. While what you are describing as a warzone, and believe me.....we have sections like that here in NJ too, I have to wonder if they went into that location being naive or, is it no worse then where they came from?
    While there is a ton of debate on every news channel about immigration and 'the wall" and such (and no, I'm not looking for any sort of political debate on anything related to this topic), we have quite a few people where I work that might be described as 'from over there' And I have to say, they work their tails off. They show up on time, do their best, they are polite and they bust their butts at anything they do.

    Thus, I wish your neighbors the safety we all come to expect in this great country and hope they achieve their 'American Dream"

    We really do live in the best darned country in the whole wide world. :
    My neighbors to my east are also from India and in fact, I helped the husband become an American citizen two summers ago. They have lived next to us now probably 5 or 6 years and are very nice people. The difference in the cultures is really interesting. Despite the wife next door who is named Siri (like the Apple Phone Lady..) trying her best to get me to try various Indian food, I simply don't care for the spicing of the food. But that doesn't stop her parents from sending us these very expensive imported cookies with almonds and other things. The problem is, the Indian cuisine has two or three spices which are common to virtually everything they make and I simply don't like the smell or taste of at least two of the spices.

    The family next door is very nice and have been great neighbors. I bought the 10 year old on a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun with the parents permission to teach the son how to shoot. The dad told me in India, guns are very rare and even air rifles are heavily regulated. My reasoning for wanting to teach the son was primarily so he would know how to safely handle any firearms and also to teach him the proper methods of handling a firearm and what to do and what not to do.

    Turns out I taught both the father and son at the same time how to shoot and how to handle the BB gun rifle and also a cO2 pistol. I keep the firearms at my house as they also have a 2.5 year old and I want to make sure he can't get a hold of the guns, etc. I wanted the 10 year old to know what to do and what not to do should he ever be at a friends house a nd they find a firearm of the parents or a similar situation. With specific training how to handle the guns and how not to handle them, hopefully this would be enough for the son to discourage others from handling weapons or anything which could get them hurt.


    It's funny because the two families that are both from India, but different parts of India. In fact, the grandfather of the newest family, who lives with his son and daughter in law and two grandson's, saw Siri out in the street getting the mail one day in the summer and I noticed she was unable to communicate with the older man from across the street. She explained to me that there are 12 or 13 (I can't recall the total she told me) distinct language in India and they and not merely dialects of the same language. She was trying to explain to me an example of the language issue in America and she wasn't able to as she described the different languages in India as almost being "state specific" and not a lot of overlap where the languages share commonality, so she was unable to understand this man and he was unable to understand her, despite both having come from the same country.

    I have found with Indian American's that many of them prefer to socialize with other Indians. But my longer term Indian neighbors actually were warning me about the new neighbors and whatever social group they are associated with and they said that the group to which the new neighbors belong tend to be very "cheap" (their words, not mine) and they also said if you have any business dealing with the new neighbors, make sure to get your money up front. They also told me that it's part of their culture to negotiate everything so if they (the new neighbors) ask me to do something for them, to make sure I get paid and to expect them to want to negotiate.

    So far, I haven't seen any sign of that but I am sure they would know better than I would. When they contacted me about plowing, they asked how much and I told them and that was it. But I also know they talked to other neighbors and the others probably told them "Sulley is a nice guy, but one time one of the neighbors wouldn't pay for plowing and he piled a massive pile at the end of the neighbors driveway and the neighbor couldn't get out until he paid what he owed." That's actually a true story as I believe in being a person of your word. Say you will do something, better do it. The guy who tired to stiff me was a doctor who was renting a house and I taught him the tail doesn't wag the dog...........and obviously the lesson had impact as others still talk about it and it's been a number of years. The doctor really ticked me off as he was running around on his wife and just a real low life and when he thumbed his nose at me, it was the principal of the matter that I thought he needed to be taught what happens when you mess with people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzler View Post
    Tough situation. Maybe once you get to know them a little better you would be able to discuss your concerns with them?

    ==Grizzler
    Over time, I will ask them about their store and customers and see what they have to say. Interestingly, the other Indian neighbors, I explained to them which area's to be careful in and which area's to avoid when they moved here from Baltimore. They seemed more aware of "rough areas" as they even told me a story about getting lost in Baltimore and ending up in a very scary area.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmylh View Post
    I live about 25 miles south of Macon Ga. Macon is pretty much thug central in these parts. Indian store owners are being robbed and killed all the time. It doesn't seem to deter them from running stores in those kinds of areas.
    It must be a lucrative business as most of the party stores and now gas stations are owned by Indian Americans in our area. They are also acquiring many of the hotels. Several new multi million dollar hotels have been constructed, in fact a total of 5 and they are all on the same block. I have been told one family owns three of them and these are new Marriot franchises and Hilton Franchises.

    I did read a really interesting story recently about how 7/11 had been for decades, the number one franchise for Indian Americans looking to start businesses in the U.S. But 7/11 has squeezed the store owners and even have begun controlling all of their banking and other electronic practices including inventory from the "hone office" which I think is in Texas.

    Here is just one story about the issues and the lawsuits. Last I read, I think the franchise owners had founded something like 44 different "Franchise Owners Associations" trying to wield their power against the corporate office. It sounds like 7/11 has crossed the line and it is actually treating the store owners like company stores and not business franchises. If something doesn't change, it very well could be the end for 7/11 over time.

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    arlen's Avatar
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    Sulley How could you not like tandoori chicken, and chicken curry? Maybe those are ones you havenít tried.
    Have her make you some naan. Iím sure you would like that...it is a type of flat bread that is quite tasty fresh out of the oven with herb butter.
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    butter chicken

    Quote Originally Posted by arlen View Post
    Sulley How could you not like tandoori chicken, and chicken curry? Maybe those are ones you havenít tried.
    Have her make you some naan. Iím sure you would like that...it is a type of flat bread that is quite tasty fresh out of the oven with herb butter.
    My fave is Butter Chicken. And curry, the hotter the better.
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    You're a pretty good guy, Sully! After the "party parking incident" earlier in the year, a lot of guys would have just written them off and told them to pound sand when they asked you to plow their driveway. Doesn't surprise me to know that you gave them the benefit of the doubt and now you're helping them out and are genuinely concerned for their safety.

    Kind of funny that some of the Indians are warning you about "those Indians"! But the caste system is still alive and well in their culture - even when they come to the US of A to live. I did a project a couple of years ago and the client hired an Indian firm to "help" me out. The two guys on the project were from different parts of India and you could tell which one was higher in the social system. I found it interesting that they spoke English when talking with each other. I asked them one day if they did that for my benefit and they told me that they each have different native languages at home and English is their common language. So even if they were in India, they would speak to each other in English. We have that to some degree in this country as well, but I am still able to use my "hillbilly English" when dealing with someone that speaks "New Jersey English".

    When I was in college I worked for a local "garden center". We had a lot of Indians moving into that area and I think most of them were from the "argue about the price" part of India that your neighbors warned about. I remember one time this guy came into the store and wanted to return a quart bottle of some sort of fertilizer. The bottle was half gone and crap was spilled all down the side. He said that he bought the wrong stuff and he wanted his money back. I pointed out the condition of the bottle and explained that he wasn't getting his money back when it was half gone. He told me that was how the bottle was when he bought it and he hadn't used any of it. I told him that if he could find another half-empty bottle with crap all over it on the shelf I'd give him his money back - otherwise get the heck out of the store!

    I had another one that brought his mower in to the shop (we also sold and serviced lawn mowers) in late fall. It was something pretty serious (bent crank from hitting something?) but he thought that it should be covered under the warranty from where I'd changed the oil and sharpened the blade back in the Spring. Told him that wasn't gonna happen!
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    Sully-I wish you and your new neighbors the best of luck. I know the Store and the neighborhood youíre speaking of, it is quite dicey, I avoid working anywhere near it if I can.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmylh View Post
    I live about 25 miles south of Macon Ga. Macon is pretty much thug central in these parts. Indian store owners are being robbed and killed all the time. It doesn't seem to deter them from running stores in those kinds of areas.
    Reading Sully's post I was thinking, this sounds like Dekalb County, Macon, Augusta, Savannah or Albany.......
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